19 Replies Latest reply on Jan 9, 2018 2:48 PM by Michael Dekoning

    Advise to New PDM Pro Install

    Brian Poelman

      Our company has recently decided to proceed with purchasing SW PDM Pro (to date we've been just doing manual revision control and working direct over network and have decided that is not sustainable for our future growth). We will start implementation with our VAR in early 2018. As we have no experience with SW PDM prior to this, I'm wondering if the community can give us any general advise for the implementation of PDM Pro, things to watch for, common rookie mistakes, etc.

       

      Any and all advise would be very appreciated.

        • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
          Matt Peneguy

          Brian,

          I am by no means a PDM expert, but I think you will get much better targeted advice if you include some more details.  I could give you advice on what works for us, but we have 4 active users, with a potential of about 7 concurrent users.  So, our needs are very minimal.

          If you are looking for some general advice I'd recommend visiting Javelin's website and perusing their PDM videos.  I'm sure you will learn a lot there.  I used their WPDM videos to set up our WPDM Server and configure our user settings.  It is definitely a good start, and it is free.

          https://www.javelin-tech.com/blog/?s=pdm

            • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
              Brian Poelman

              Thanks for the feedback Matt. I'll look into their PDM videos.

               

              As for what we're looking for in PDM, our primary objectives are:

              -Automated revision control of SW files (parts, assemblies, and drawings)

              -Secure vault with local copies to increase SW performance (rebuild and load times)

              -Workflows to automate PDF creation, document approvals, etc.

                • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                  Matt Peneguy

                  Your VAR should be helping you with the first two, at a minimum.  And the workflows are going to be dependent on your organization.  The good news is that since you are going with Pro, you will definitely have some active help available.

                  I know with WPDM, you could install a copy locally.  I did so, and it made me a more comfortable with it when we went to roll it out.  I think you may be able to do the same with PDM Standard on a local computer.  It may be a good idea to take PDM Standard for a test drive, to see how it works.  You could even send in a support ticket with your VAR and get them to show you around through a web session.  Since you are paying for PDM Pro, they should be able to do that.  One downside is that Standard only comes with 1 workflow and you won't be able to test out any of the extra workflow functionality.  I'm not sure of the other functionality, but Standard and Pro should fundamentally work similarly.  And you should be able to get an idea of how the revision control system and vault work from Standard.

                  • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                    Sergejs Sinicins

                    Brian,

                     

                    Few more suggestions to add:

                    - Consider moving to Intelligent / Semi-intelligent part numbering system. PDM Pro can do it.

                    - Calculate amount of files you need to move into the vault.

                    - Build your File Cards right first time.

                    - "Legacy" data should be considered as well.

                    - Think how you are Searching the information (file name, custom properties, etc.)

                    - If you decide no to use the "Test Vault" move all files into the "Dump" folder under the "Dump" workflow and sort everything based on "As required" approach.

                    - Checking In/Out culture/notifications must be implemented.

                    - Think about permissions (very important).

                      • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                        Jim Sculley

                        Sergejs Sinicins wrote:

                         

                        Brian,

                         

                        Few more suggestions to add:

                        - Consider moving to Intelligent / Semi-intelligent part numbering system. PDM Pro can do it.

                        There is no such thing as in intelligent part numbering system.  One of the major benefits of PDM is that you don't need the numbers to 'mean' anything.  You have an entire database of searchable fields at your fingertips.

                  • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                    Ken Maren

                    Keep it simple to start.   More often than not, the common rookie mistake I see is making everything really complicated.   For example, I have seen data cards with 50 fields, workflows that have every state and transition imaginable. 

                     

                    Keeping it simple to start will help with adoption by all the users.   Once you get that initial adoption, you can begin to add more. 

                     

                    Have an internal user group meeting with PDM so users have somewhere to share their frustrations, workflow, ideas, etc.  

                     

                    Make the old way read only.   Even the most simple task must be done in PDM.   Once you start allowing work outside of PDM the ability to do things the old way will spread like wildfire.   People don't like change.  Making it simple will ease the transition. 

                      • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                        Matt Peneguy

                        Very good points Ken.  Along the same thinking, if you can show how it helps the users, they will take to it more readily.  Nobody likes to be told "Do it this way".  For instance, a demonstration of tracking of information can help.  Make a simple plate, add it to the vault, check it out, add some holes, make a note in the card, "added holes for drainage", check it back in.  Then show them the system tells you what you did to the part in what revision.  Sometimes I make a change, come back to the part a few years later and scratch my head and ask myself why is this part like this... I added those holes for drainage, but am I going to remember that in 3 years? PDM can help users with those types of things.

                        • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                          Craig Schultz

                          KISS principle is key in the beginning.

                           

                          Meet with other users to get input for workflow direction, what info you want to see on data cards, what outputs you need (PDF, dxf, step,.....)

                           

                          Start a test vault.  Run through some scenarios.  Review it with the other users.  Make changes.  Rinse, lather, repeat until you get buy in.  Keep in mind you will not satisfy everyone right off the bat.

                           

                          Use the variables to populate your title blocks.

                          Use the folder card variables to populate into your parts/assemblies for easy searches.

                           

                          The three things you mentioned are easily obtainable.

                            • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                              Jim Sculley

                              Craig Schultz wrote:

                               

                              KISS principle is key in the beginning.

                               

                              Meet with other users to get input for workflow direction, what info you want to see on data cards, what outputs you need (PDF, dxf, step,.....)

                              One of the easiest was to keep it simple is to mimic in PDM what your users are doing today outside PDM.  Or at least keep the good things about your current processes, and get rid of anything that causes problems.  You will encounter less resistance from users if the new way is identical/similar to the old way.  If it is faster than the old way, the users will be even happier.

                               

                              The idea is to take control without the users feeling that they are being controlled.  The simplest things can make a difference.  For example, how many of us have had a problem with users accidentally dragging a folder into another folder, thus breaking references for many other models?  With the proper folder permissions, it will never happen again and your users won't even notice.

                          • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                            Michael Dekoning

                            Brian,

                            Some advice from a 10 year veteran of PDM Professional.

                            • Create a "test" vault for experimentation.
                            • Choose your vault name carefully as it is one of the few things that is almost impossible to change later.
                            • Keep track of some basic statistics like files added, modified, released, etc. per month to aid in later funding requests.
                            • Stress to users the importance of doing ALL of their work inside of the vault, i.e. don't create designs outside and add them later.
                            • Keep your folder structure as simple as possible and teach users that the ability to search is better than navigating folders.
                            • Train users to focus on workflow states to determine the status of files.
                            • Help users understand how the local file cache works.
                              • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                                Matt Peneguy

                                Michael Dekoning wrote:

                                 

                                • Keep your folder structure as simple as possible and teach users that the ability to search is better than navigating folders.

                                I am still struggling with this with our users.  The Vault manages your files and there is no need to nest folders.  I've got an assembly with 9000 parts in 1 project folder in the Vault.  My coworkers think I'm nuts.  But, it just works.

                                  • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                                    James Falconer

                                    Hi Matt,

                                    9000 files should be OK, but since we are in a Windows folder environment we would still encounter Microsoft Windows recommendations. I've had multiple cases where performance is affected (such as opening the folder) when there were 15K+ files in one folder. The higher this number goes, the slower Windows may seem.

                                    James K Falconer

                                    Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp.

                                    • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                                      Jim Sculley

                                      Matt Peneguy wrote:

                                       

                                      Michael Dekoning wrote:

                                       

                                      • Keep your folder structure as simple as possible and teach users that the ability to search is better than navigating folders.

                                      I am still struggling with this with our users. The Vault manages your files and there is no need to nest folders. I've got an assembly with 9000 parts in 1 project folder in the Vault. My coworkers think I'm nuts. But, it just works.

                                      Given the absoultely insane way that SOLIDWORKS (not PDM) searches for file references, the less folders you use, the saner you will be.  However, 9000 files in a folder is going to slow down Windows Explorer.

                                      • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                                        Craig Schultz

                                        You can have folders that make sense.  Break it down per project, library parts, templates, etc etc  That way if you need to manually click through the folder structure, you don't have to deal with load times and scrolling until your finger falls off.

                                         

                                        I really don't manually dive down into the folder anyway, that's what the search card is for.

                                    • Re: Advise to New PDM Pro Install
                                      Paul Wyndham

                                      Brian, I created a quick workflow in a default vault that increments a revision and created a PDF of a drawing. In the current state the workflow requires that the revision be set to 'A' before it is checked in. That means that revision variable is set to 'A' in the template or the user sets it on the datacard when the file is saved into the vault. Having the workflow set it to 'A' would require another state that transitions automatically.

                                       

                                      The way I have it setup, the revision is incremented to 'A' when set to the controlled state. Then when the file is transitioned to Under Edititing the revision variable is set to 'B'. When transitioned to Controlled again it is incremented to 'B'.

                                       

                                      In the controlled state the revision and "local revision" variables are both the same. When in Editing the "local revision" should say "no revision".

                                      The transition to controlled will start the convert to PDF task on slddrw files. You will need to add your machine to the task permissions. I didn't really change any of the PDF settings since I didn't know what you want it to do.

                                       

                                      I didn't change the name of the workflow, so it is still "Default Workflow". If you import the file into an existing vault it might try to overwrite a workflow with the same name.

                                       

                                      Since the purpose of SWPDM is to provide a secure local copy of the vault on the client machine I don't have anything to do to address your second requirement in your second post.